From left to right - Jason Belmonte, Pete Weber, Marshall Kent, Wes Malott, Kelly Kulick, Liz Johnson, Diandra Asbaty, Danielle McEwen.
Yesterday, this year's Bowling U.S. Open in Columbus, Ohio was the first of its kind to be open in 3 centers - Columbus Western Bowl, Wayne Webb Columbus Bowl, and Holiday Lanes.
What wasn't mentioned but very visible on the jerseys the finalists wore: 7 of the 8 bowlers are sponsored by Storm Bowling. The only non-Storm bowler, Wes Malott, is sponsored by Roto Grip and a member of Storm Nation. Storm Bowling purchased the Roto Grip brand name in 1997.
As I wrote in my August 26, 2012 blog entry "Bowlers in the Family", the bowling community is very closely connected. Some facts about the finalists in this year's tournament confirm their closeness:
- Liz Johnson (Women's Division) and Wes Malott (Men's Division), today's champions, each earned $50,000. The Battle of Sexes match that followed after their championship matches was a PBA semi-final rematch from the 2005 Banquet Open. Liz defeated Wes, but lost in the final match to Tommy Jones. Liz earned an additional $10,000 for defeating Wes a second time.
- Pete Weber, son of Dick Weber.
- Jason Belmonte and Diandra Asbaty are 2 of the 3 founders of the bowling experience group - International Art of Bowling.
- Marshall Kent and Danielle McEwan are Team U.S.A. members and entered the U.S. Open as amateurs. Marshall is a student at Robert Morris University and Danielle attends Fairleigh Dickinson University. The romantic in me thinks it's very sweet that they are also boyfriend and girlfriend. Both of their Twitter profiles show pictures of them together.